A Baghdad Bounedjah penalty in the 83rd minute gave Al Sadd SC a 4-3 aggregate win over Saudi Professional League outfit Al Nassr FC on Monday to reach the semifinals of the AFC Champions League 2019.
Xavi Hernandez’s Al Sadd are the first club to reach the semifinals of @TheAFCCL 2019 as they overcome @SPL outfit Al Nassr FC 4-3 on aggregate in the quarterfinals! #ACL2019 #SDDvNSR pic.twitter.com/7oCgzkt7WJ
— FOX Sports LIVE! (@FSAsiaLive) September 16, 2019
The Qatar Stars League champions had gone into the second leg at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha trailing 2-1 to their Saudi opponents, but goals from Akram Afif, Hassan Al Haydos and Bounedjah gave Xavi Hernandez’s side a pass to the last four of ACL 2019.
Al Sadd were the dominant force in the early minutes and captain Al Haydos had two early pops at goal in the seventh minute. First, he produced a save from visiting goalkeeper Brad Jones from a short corner kick before he dragged a shot wide moments later.
However, Al Nassr did create a couple of chances for themselves with striker Hamdallah failing to apply the finish to a cross from full-back Sultan Al Ghanam in the 15th minute before Al Sadd goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb kept out Giuliano de Paula’s shot from inside the box in the 22nd minute.
AFC Champions League 2019: Al Sadd SC 1-0 Al Nassr FC (Akram Afif 26′)
Surviving the scare, the hosts would go on to level the tie at 2-2 on aggregate when Afif headed in a cross from South Korean midfielder Nam Tae-hee four minutes later to find the opening goal in Doha.
But, parity remained only for seven minutes as Al Sadd goalkeeper Al Sheeb was wrong-footed by a free kick from Moroccan striker Hamdellah and the visitors had a crucial away goal which made things more difficult for Xavi’s Al Sadd.
Al Haydos once again went close for Al Sadd with a free kick two minutes before half time, but it was the visiting Al Nassr who would have been the happier of the two sides as the players headed for the dressing rooms.
AFC Champions League 2019: Al Sadd SC 1-1 Al Nassr FC (Abderrazak Hamdallah 33′)
Second half began with more attacking intent from Al Sadd and they were rewarded for it when Al Haydos found some space outside the box and planted a scorcher in the back of the net in the 59th minute to level the tie.
The hosts had the opportunity to take the lead in the tie in the 66th minute when Baghdad Boundejah let a cross from Al Haydos run past him, but Nam scuffed his effort from the centre of the box. Former Liverpool custodian Jones also kept out efforts from Hamid Ismail and Bounedjah to keep his team alive in the tie.
AFC Champions League 2019: Al Sadd SC 2-1 Al Nassr FC (Hassan Al Haydos 59′)
The turning point of the game came in the 79th minute when Afif is drew a foul from Al Nassr centre-back Abdullah Madu inside the box and the referee did not hesitate to point to the spot. Boundejah stepped up and converted the penalty which took Al Sadd to the semifinals of the ACL 2019.
Al Hilal FC will face Al Ittihad Club in the second leg of the other East Asia Zone quarterfinal of the AFC Champions League on Tuesday with both teams playing out a goalless draw in the first leg.